Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2009, May 29

Book of Mormon Article | “Nephi and Jacob’s ‘Isles of the Sea’ Others versus Modern Prophets’ Hagoth and Polynesians: Time to Re-evaluate ‘Descendants of Hagoth’/ ‘Lehites’/ ‘Lamanites’ (Like with Blacks and the Priesthood Ban)?” by grego

Book of Mormon Article | “Nephi and Jacob’s ‘Isles of the Sea’ Others versus Modern Prophets’ Hagoth and Polynesians: Time to Re-evaluate ‘Descendants of Hagoth’/ ‘Lehites’/ ‘Lamanites’ (Like with Blacks and the Priesthood Ban)?”
by grego
(c) 2009
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Summary: Quotes from modern prophets and leaders about Polynesians being Lehites, descended from Hagoth; quotes from Nephi and Jacob about house of Israel (and the Nephites) already being on “isles of the sea” 500 years before Hagoth; did someone start out with the right idea, but everyone reach the wrong conclusions?; is a re-evaluation in order?

WARNING to LDS: This article might be somewhat heretical, especially if you believe that prophets are always acting as prophets, even in LDS things.
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From the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, one reads:
The belief that POLYNESIAN ANCESTRY INCLUDES BOOK OF MORMON PEOPLE can be traced back at least to 1851, when George Q. Cannon taught it as a missionary in HAWAII (he was later a counselor in the First Presidency). President Brigham Young detailed the belief IN A LETTER TO KING KAMEHAMEHA V in 1865. Other Church leaders have since AFFIRMED THE BELIEF, some INDICATING THAT AMONG POLYNESIAN ANCESTORS WERE THE PEOPLE OF HAGOTH, who set sail from Nephite lands in approximately 54 B.C. (cf. Alma 63:5-8). In a statement to the Maoris of New Zealand, for instance, President Joseph F. Smith said, “I would like to say to you brethren and sisters…you are some of Hagoth’s people, and there is NO PERHAPS about it!” (Cole and Jensen, p. 388.) In the prayer offered at the dedication of the Hawaii Temple, President Heber J. Grant referred to the “descendants of Lehi” in Hawaii (IE 23 [Feb. 1920]:283).

Ok, that’s a pretty benign paragraph, typical of Encyclopedia of Mormonism articles. Let’s see how that stands up against actual quotes from LDS Church leaders.

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President Heber J. Grant, at the Laie HAWAII Temple dedication November 27-30, 1919, said:
“We thank Thee, that thousands and tens of thousands of the DESCENDANTS OF LEHI, IN THIS FAVORED LAND, have come to a knowledge of the gospel, many of whom have endured faithfully to the end of their lives.”

President David O. McKay, at the Hamilton NEW ZEALAND Temple dedication on April 20–22, 1958, said:
We express gratitude that TO THESE FERTILE LANDS THOUGH DIDST GUIDE DESCENDANTS OF FATHER LEHI, and hast enabled them to prosper, to develop and to become associated in history with leading and influential nations among mankind.

Gordon B. Hinckley, at the Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple dedication, August 9-11, 1983, said:
“We thank Thee for the coming forth of the Book of Mormon with its record of THE FOREBEARS OF THE PEOPLE OF TONGA.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley, in the rebuilt Apia Samoa Temple dedicatory prayer on September 4, 2005, said.
“In these ISLANDS OF SAMOA, Thou hast remembered Thine ancient promise “UNTO THEM WHO ARE UPON THE ISLES OF THE SEA” (2 Nephi 10:21).”

Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, at the dedication of the NEW ZEALAND Temple, April 20, 1958: ” . . . Here are two great strains of the house of Israel and the children of Ephraim from the isles of Britain, and THE CHILDREN OF LEHI FROM THE ISLES OF THE PACIFIC.”

Hugh B. Brown, praying at the end of the cornerstone laying ceremony at the New Zealand Temple, said:
“We humbly thank Thee that this building is erected in this land, so that those faithful MAORIS WHO CAME HERE IN EARLY DAYS, DESCENDANTS OF FATHER LEHI, may be remembered by their descendants…”

Mark E. Petersen said: “…the POLYNESIAN SAINTS are characterized by a tremendous faith. Why do they have this great faith? It is because THESE PEOPLE ARE OF THE BLOOD OF ISRAEL. They are HEIRS TO THE PROMISES OF THE BOOK OF Mormon. God is now awakening them to their great destiny.” (Conference Report, Apr. 1962, p. 112)

Mark E. Petersen said, in 1962 general conference:
“As Latter-day Saints WE HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT THE POLYNESIANS ARE DESCENDANTS OF LEHI AND BLOOD RELATIVES OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS, despite the contrary theories of other men.”

Robert L. Simpson – “I would like, in making reference to these wonderful people from NEW ZEALAND—ESPECIALLY THE MAORI FOLKS HERE TODAY—to turn to Alma 63:5-8, and read a very significant quotation. It talks about a man called Hagoth, a man who set sail from these Americas many centuries ago. (quotes Alma 63:5-8).
“I would like to tell you young people that in a great gathering of Polynesians held right in Salt Lake City just prior to 1915, a prophet of the Lord, President Joseph F. Smith, addressing a group of Polynesians who had come to Salt Lake City to participate in their temple endowment work, made the statement that without a doubt this man Hagoth and his company were the progenitors of the Polynesian races, and that this migration was the beginning of the Polynesian population in the South Pacific.
“Now up until very recently men of science have said, no, the Polynesians have come from the Malay States, they have come from the African, from the Asian side, and they have migrated from a westerly direction to the Polynesian islands-not from the Americas. This has been popular thinking until about 1940, when a very bold scholar by the name of Thor Heyerdahl made the observation that indeed these people must be from the Americas. He set out to prove this by building some balsa rafts on which he set himself adrift off the shores of South and Central America. He and his companions drifted for about one hundred days, and depending only on the prevailing tides and winds of that area, they found themselves cast upon the shores of these South Pacific islands, not far from Tahiti. It seems rather significant that all of a sudden scientific opinion began to change and Thor Heyerdahl, since that day, has presented additional evidences that have further made it a very important consideration-that the Polynesians did originate from the Americas.
“Now the Maoris themselves have something to say about this theory. They all have the same answer to the questions, ‘Where did your people come from? Where did you originate?’ The answer is always the same:
‘I haere mai matou I tawhiti nui, I tawhiti roe, I tawhiti pamamau I te hono I te wai e rua.’ (‘We came from a great distance, from a still greater distance, from a very, very great distance, from the joining place of two great waters.‘)
“Perhaps by the narrow neck of land that separated the two great seas, the narrow neck of land which led into the land northward. This is Maori tradition and I want to tell you that those who have joined the Church believe without reservation, that these things I have told you are part and parcel of Mormon doctrine. (BYU Speeches of the Year, April 4, 1962, p. 6.)

President Spencer W. Kimball said: “President Joseph F. Smith, the president of the Church reported, ‘YOU BRETHREN AND SISTERS FROM NEW ZEALAND, I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE FROM THE PEOPLE OF HAGOTH.’” (New Zealand Area Conference Report, 20–22 Feb. 1976, p. 3).

President Kimball quoted President Joseph F. Smith: ” `I would like to say to you brethren and sisters of New Zealand, YOU ARE SOME OF HAGOTH’S PEOPLE, AND THERE IS NO PERHAPS ABOUT IT!’ ”

President Spencer W. Kimball in a 1976 address to Samoan members: [President Kimball read the account of Hagoth in the book of Alma and then said]: “And so IT SEEMS TO ME RATHER CLEAR THAT YOUR ANCESTORS MOVED NORTHWARD AND CROSSED A PART OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC. You did not bring your records with you, but you brought much food and provisions. . . .”

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Personally, those quotes are much, much stronger than what the Encyclopedia of Mormonism article alludes to. And that’s A LOT of comments compared to what we have about other peoples, places, and prophecies.

I don’t know how or why, but somehow LDS Church leaders, who to this day still do not even know (or at least haven’t revealed) where the Book of Mormon Nephites and Lamanites lived, or where Hagoth/ the ships sailed from, or where the real main Lamanites are today (Guatemala? Nicaragua? Peru? Mexico? Arizona? scattered all over North, Central, and South America? Malaysia? an isle of the sea?)—were able to come out with so much prophecy about not just the lineage, but the origins of all the Polynesians—which has not once ever been presented as a revelation on the topic, and often seems like conjecture or a misunderstanding of what came before (though without knowing the content of the Cannon and Young teachings, it’s harder to say, of course).

Who, exactly, was President Smith talking about when he said “all the Polynesians”? Does that mean: Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, Hawaii, New Zealand?
Does that also include Fiji, French Polynesia, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands?
Vanuatu, Kiribati? New Guinea and the Solomon Islands?
Everyone on the isles of the South Pacific?

What about other Lehites and Lamanites?

Of the modern Lehites and Lamanites (outside of the Polynesians), LDS Church prophets, leaders, and publications have commented that they are all over the Americas. Here are a few quotes about that:

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“Church News” (http://kennedy.byu.edu/academic/las/resource/pdfs/church_news.pdf ) articles have multiple references—spanning decades—to Lamanites being in North, Central, and South America.

Spencer W. Kimball said, at the 30 October–2 November 1978 dedication of the São Paulo BRAZIL:
“We thank Thee that Thou didst bring FATHER LEHI AND HIS FAMILY TO THIS LAND OF PROMISE and Thou didst establish Thy people, the Nephites and the Lamanites and their Book of Mormon.”

Gordon B. Hinckley, at the Cochabamba BOLIVIA Temple dedication on April 30, 2000, said:
“We remember before Thee the SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF FATHER LEHI. Wilt Thou keep Thine ancient promises in their behalf. Lift from their shoulders the burdens of poverty and cause the shackles of darkness to fall from their eyes. May they rise to the glories of the past. May they recognize their Redeemer and be faithful and true Saints of the Most High. May they seek learning out of the best books (see D&C 88:118). May the enlightenment of education bring new and wonderful opportunities into their lives.”

Gordon B. Hinckley, at the Lima PERU Temple dedication January 10-12, 1986, said:
“We are particularly mindful this day of the SONS AND DAUGHERS OF LEHI. They have known so much of suffering and sorrow in their many generations. They have walked in darkness and in servitude. Now Thou hast touched them by the light of the everlasting gospel. The shackles of darkness are falling from their eyes as they embrace the truths of Thy great work. Surely FATHER LEHI HAS WEPT WITH SORROW OVER HIS POSTERITY. SURELY HE WEEPS TODAY WTH GLADNESS, FOR IN THIS HOLY HOUSE there will be exercised the fullness of the priesthood to the blessing, not only of those of this and future generations, but also to the blessing of THOSE OF PREVIOUS GENERATIONS.”

President James E. Faust – 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency, said:
“LATIN PEOPLE have a special quality of softness and graciousness and kindness. They are a great people—THEY ARE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF FATHER LEHI, and they have believing blood. They are a beautiful people, inside and out.” (Aug 7, 1999 Church News – Guayaquil Ecuador Temple dedication: ‘A wondrous day’ for members)

Thomas S. Monson, dedicating the Buenos Aires ARGENTINA Temple in January 17-19, 1986, said:
“Wilt Thou, our Father, continue to bless the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and LIKEWISE THE DESCENDANTS OF LEHI AND NEPHI, that the promises contained in the Holy Bible and in the Book of Mormon may be brought to fulfillment and our homes and families blessed abundantly.”

Gordon B. Hinckley, dedicating the Snowflake Arizona Temple, March 3, 2002, said:
“We are grateful that this Thy house will be available to the sons and daughters of Lehi who live nearby. Let the scales of darkness fall from their eyes and bring a fulfillment of the ancient promises made concerning them. May this house become a hallowed sanctuary for many of these, our brothers and sisters.”

Clate W. Mask, Jr., a Seventy, said:
“Today, many of their descendants are reading about this in their own copies of the Book of Mormon and are choosing to follow Christ. I love meeting the CHILDREN OF LEHI in spotless white in the numerous temples in the MEXICO SOUTH AREA, where I am currently serving. I feel as President Gordon B. Hinckley did at the dedication of the GUATEMALA CITY temple:
‘Thou kind and gracious Father, our hearts swell with gratitude for thy remembrance of the SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF LEHI, the many generations of our fathers and mothers who suffered so greatly and who walked for so long in darkness. Thou hast heard their cries and seen their tears. Now there will be opened to them the gates of salvation and eternal life’ (Guatemala City Guatemala Temple dedicatory prayer, in “Their Cries Heard, Their Tears Seen,” Church News, 23 Dec. 1984, 4).
I have seen HUMBLE DESCENDANTS OF LEHI come down from the mountains to that temple and openly weep as they stood there in awe.” (As reported in http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=d9e1d9cbdb01c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD )

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Might there be a connection between “all the Polynesians” and what might be termed “all the American Lamanites”? As science was at odds with “all the American Lamanites” and the word “principal” in the phrase “principal ancestors” gets dropped from the Introduction to the Book of Mormon—another non-formal writing—what happens when science is also very much at odds with the non-formal revelation “Hagoth” origin of Polynesians? (Believe it or not, I typically believe prophets over science most any day.)

So is it possible that “all the Polynesians” might not descend only or even primarily from the Hagoth sailings?

What does the Book of Mormon say about those upon “the isles of the sea”?

Here are the verses:

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1 Nephi 19:10 …the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself…according to the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a SIGN GIVEN OF HIS DEATH unto THOSE WHO SHOULD INHABIT the ISLES OF THE SEA, MORE ESPECIALLY GIVEN UNTO THOSE WHO ARE OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.

1 Nephi 19:11 For thus spake the prophet: The Lord God surely shall VISIT ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AT THAT DAY, some with his voice, because of their righteousness, unto their great joy and salvation, and others with the thunderings and the lightnings of his power, by tempest, by fire, and by smoke, and vapor of darkness, and by the opening of the earth, and by mountains which shall be carried up.

1 Nephi 19:12 And all these things must surely come, saith the prophet Zenos. And the rocks of the earth must rend; and BECAUSE OF THE GROANINGS OF THE EARTH, MANY OF THE KINGS OF THE ISLES OF THE SEA shall be wrought upon by the Spirit of God, to exclaim: The GOD OF NATURE SUFFERS.

1 Nephi 19:16 Yea, then will he remember the ISLES OF THE SEA; yea, and all the people who are of the house of Israel, will I gather in, saith the Lord, according to the words of the prophet Zenos, from the four quarters of the earth.

1 Nephi 21:8 Thus saith the Lord: In an acceptable time have I heard thee, O ISLES OF THE SEA, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee my servant for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;

1 Nephi 22:3 Wherefore, the things of which I have read are things pertaining to things both temporal and spiritual; for it appears that the house of Israel, sooner or later, will be scattered upon all the face of the earth, and also among all nations.

1 Nephi 22:4 And behold, there are MANY WHO ARE ALREADY LOST FROM THE KNOWLEDGE OF THOSE WHO ARE AT JERUSALEM. Yea, the MORE PART OF ALL THE TRIBES HAVE BEEN LED AWAY; and they are SCATTERED TO AND FRO upon the ISLES OF THE SEA; and whither they are NONE OF US KNOWETH, save that we know that THEY HAVE BEEN LED AWAY.

1 Nephi 22:5 And since they have been led away, these things have been prophesied concerning them, and also concerning ALL THOSE WHO SHALL HEREAFTER BE SCATTERED AND BE CONFOUNDED, because of the Holy One of Israel; for against him will they harden their hearts; wherefore, they shall be scattered among all nations and shall be hated of all men.

2 Nephi 10:8 And it shall come to pass that they shall be gathered in from their long dispersion, from the ISLES OF THE SEA, and from the four parts of the earth; and the nations of the Gentiles shall be great in the eyes of me, saith God, in carrying them forth to the lands of their inheritance.

2 Nephi 10:20 And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and WE ARE UPON AN ISLE OF THE SEA.

2 Nephi 10:21 But great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are UPON THE ISLES OF THE SEA; wherefore as it says ISLES, THERE MUST NEEDS BE MORE THAN THIS, AND THEY ARE INHABITED ALSO BY OUR BRETHEREN.

2 Nephi 10:22 For behold, the Lord God HAS LED AWAY FROM TIME TO TIME FROM THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, ACCORDING TO HIS WILL AND PLEASURE. And now behold, the Lord remembereth all them who have been broken off, wherefore he remembereth us also.

2 Nephi 29:7 Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are UPON THE ISLES OF THE SEA; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?

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The above scriptures by Nephi and Jacob (especially 1 Nephi 19:12, 1 Nephi 22:4, 2 Nephi 10:21-22) make it *absolutely clear* that the house of Israel had already been scattered on the isles of the sea BEFORE the time of the Nephites—though it’s not clear what peoples they were nor where they were.

It’s also absolutely clear that there would be many kings on the isles at the time of the Lord’s death, who likely would not have the full knowledge of the gospel anymore (which would also likely point to not having scripture).

This was all 500+ years before Hagoth had even set sail!

Also, Jacob says (2 Nephi 10:20) that they (the Nephites) were themselves were “upon an isle of the sea” (North America? Central America? South America?)

I don’t doubt that most faithful LDS believe that Polynesians are descendants of the house of Israel (which fits in quite well with what Nephi and Jacob wrote). But why? Because of the teachings of Nephi and Jacob? Or, as some LDS leaders have said, because of their great faith? Are then the Saints in Africa also true descendants of Lehi and the house of Israel, because of their great faith, especially in the face of great adversity and tragedy? I believe the reason leaders have spoken what they have spoken is mainly because of what they have interpreted or understood from the Book of Mormon.

Was Nephi and Jacob’s “of the house of Israel”, and other primary (as in first) modern prophets’ meanings, misinterpreted/ misunderstood by later prophets, perhaps stumbling on the Hagoth story in the Book of Mormon, to become “of the house of Lehi”?

Was inspiration/ revelation: “Polynesians are true descendants of the house of Israel” given to prophets, but without a reason why; and then that “why” filled in because of what would be better termed “feeling” or even “speculation”—rather than by revelation—to become “Polynesians are from the Hagoth sailing”? (As an example, my wife and I (mostly my wife) just finished moving things all around on one floor of our house, because my wife wanted it that way—even though her reasons were all wrong or illogical; until the end, when she finally figured the real reason why, and all the work was worth it…)

If President Smith was correct, that the Hagoth event was the origin of all the races of the Polynesians, then that also importantly means Nephi and Jacob are not talking about any of the Polynesians in some of their teachings and prophesyings. Nephi and Jacob are talking about Others—people of the house of Israel who had been on the isles of the seas for over 500 years, before Polynesians. Once more, though, who and where is unknown…

Or is is possible that Hagoth et. al. might have—relying on Elder Peterson’s remark, that the Polynesians are related to the American Indians—as the Lehites, mixed with other ancestors of the Polynesians, but weren’t necessarily the “principal” ones of every single Polynesian land and people?

If the Lehites are the ancestors of all the Polynesians, does that mean they spread out over the entire Pacific and overthrew or interacted and intermarried with all these other peoples from the house of Israel that Nephi and Jacob mention? But why would the Lord lead away many from the house of Israel, only to have them destroyed or overcome by Lehites? Or was it all through intermarrying?

Are we looking at a coming re-evaluation of “Polynesians-as-modern-Lehites” status, just like we saw with the Lamanites as “principal” ancestors of the American Indians, and descendants of Cain (Canaan/ Ham) and the priesthood situation?

Personally, I see much more likeness between American Indians and “aboriginal” Filipinos, Japanese, Taiwanese, and Southern Asians, for example, than between American Indians and Polynesians.

If so many others on the isles of the sea are Israelites—according to Nephi and Jacob, and as I believe—when will the work among these people commence and be strengthened?

Why were Polynesians singled out above all other peoples on “the isles of the sea” as not only of the house of Israel but also as descendants of Lehi, and blessed with so many blessings from the LDS Church’s labors; while up to now all other “isles of the sea” peoples, have been, more or less, left out—even those of the “house of Israel”?

Is it because of the Polynesians’ faith and conversion success rate, or because of revelation?

Any insight into any of the statements or questions?


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2009, May 26

Book of Mormon: “To Do the Will, Both of the Father and of the Son–of the Father Because of Me, and of the Son Because of My Flesh” by grego

Book of Mormon: “To Do the Will, Both of the Father and of the Son–of the Father Because of Me, and of the Son Because of My Flesh”
by grego

In the Book of Mormon, Jesus tells Nephi:
3 Nephi 1:14 Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son–of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.

What does that one part mean–“to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son–of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh”?

At this time Jesus is still a spirit and God, in perfect knowledge, understanding, and unity with His father, God the Father, which also meant he still knew exactly what he was coming to earth for—hence “of the Father because of me”.

When Jesus would come to earth, He would do the will of the Father, as His spirit did at that time when He was just a spirt; He would also inherit powers and blessings from His Father.

“[A]nd of the Son”–of Jesus’ own will, deciding to follow the Father and do the Father’s bidding, notwithstanding His limited knowledge of godly things while in His mortal life, especially at the beginning, a more complete knowledge gained through faith, obedience, and seeking His Father; notwithstanding the temptations of Satan; and the ability to suffer weaknesses of the body of flesh He would receive from His mother.

This is similar to what Abinadi preaches:
Mosiah 15:2 And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son–
Mosiah 15:3 The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son–
Mosiah 15:4 And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.
Mosiah 15:5 And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.
Mosiah 15:7 Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.

By receiving His own body, the distinction between the Father and the Son would in some ways be even clearer and more distinct. By growing closer to God over His lifetime, and continuing to do the Father’s will in harder and harder things, He and His Father grew closer to having the most perfect unity they once had before Jesus came in the flesh.

Jesus life was to do the will of the Father:
John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

This is best typified in His prayers in the garden of Gethsemane:
Matthew 26:38 Then saith he unto them, *My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death*: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
Matthew 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless *not as I will, but as thou wilt*.
Matthew 26:42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, *if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done*.

Mark 14:35 And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
Mark 14:36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless *not what I will, but what thou wilt*.

Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless *not my will, but thine, be done*.
Luke 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

When Jesus appears to the Nephites, He says,
3 Nephi 11:10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ…
3 Nephi 11:11 And behold…*I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me*, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which *I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning*.

Jesus did come to do both the will of the Father and His own will—because they are both actually just one and the same, and always have been, and always will be.


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2009, May 23

“Self-Defense for LDS/ Mormon Men: Why Not?” by grego

Filed under: Uncategorized — grego @ 1:01 am
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Self-Defense for LDS/ Mormon Men: Why Not?
by grego
(c) 2009

In a previous post–“Book of Mormon: What’s Worth Fighting and Dying For?” (https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=141), I wrote a little about, well, what’s worth fighting and dying for. Here, I want to talk about problems with carrying out our duties as husbands/ fathers/ sons/ MEN, especially relating to defense/ protection of ourselves, our families, our homes, our rights, etc.

(By the way, I consider this to be a very rough first draft! Even though, yeah, it’s published, and even though I may never get around to making it any better…)

Some, if not many, LDS men are great because they aren’t really into this “violence” thing. But defense =/= violence, and violence =/= defense. We’re discussing godly defense and protection, not ungodly violence.

So how come LDS men sometimes aren’t very good at doing what LDS men are supposed to do, as taught and shown in the scriptures?

Here are a few reasons we think, I think:

1. We think, “It’s never happened to me, it won’t, and if it does, the police will save me.”
Maybe, but it’s likely the police will get there just in time to clean up the mess that has already been made.

2. “Someone might get hurt practicing.”
Yes, it’s true, someone might get hurt in practice/ learning/ preparation/ etc. It’s definitely something that needs to be done with wisdom and according to our circumstances, abilities, and environment. Chances are, though, that someone will get hurt even worse if you don’t do something now to prepare.

3. “It’s scary crap.”
It is. The videos you can watch of real fights can be sickening, revolting, and make you queasy to your stomach. They don’t go well with the Spirit, nor bring its fruits. But imagine yourself in one of them, and you can’t do anything to defend yourself, because you were scared. Even scarier, imagine you and your family in one of them, and you can’t do anything to help them, because you were scared.
Besides, once more, defense is much more than just brawling and whooping butt.

4. “I suffer enough; do you want me to suffer more?”
As disciples of Christ, yes, we often suffer a lot. It’s so much easier to not do anything lots of times, than to stand up and say something or especially do something. But even so, shouldn’t we at least talk sometimes? Isn’t there another kind of suffering—the kind that comes when we regret not having done what we should have done? The kind that comes from watching innocent, defenseless people suffer because we don’t want to suffer?

5. “The Lord will provide; the Lord will fight my battles.”
Like He provided for Lehi, Moses, Nephi, Abraham, David, Alma the elder and his people; the early Saints. In fact, the Book of Mormon is all about deliverance, both physical and spiritual. He often does perform miracles on our behalf, but isn’t it after we have done something, or at least shown our faith, commitment, and courage? And there might be times when more on our part is required, as with the need for the Nephites to continually defend themselves against the Lamanites, unto death. Like Nephi, we hope the Lord will take care of all our Labans like He did the Egyptians—we just need to follow the Spirit and be faithful to Him, and He will do everything else; but we might have to at least raise a sword sometime.
Remember, it’s easier to ask God’s help—and get it when it’s needed—when we have done our part/ tried to do something, other than sit around and hope nothing happens.

6. “If you speak out, you will get hurt!”
Yeah, it’s pretty much always been that way, huh? It might not happen that way every time, but it could happen.
Here are a few examples in the Book of Mormon:
On the other hand, speaking out might save someone, and do much good. Here are a few examples in the Book of Mormon:

7. “I’m embarrassed.”
I have a feeling this is probably the biggest. I’m sure some LDS men would rather be caught buying pornography than a book/ DVD about self-defense! There’s something about our culture, or at least parts of it—that strongly supports and cultivates that mindset. It’s cool to go to the gym or go running, but mention you are studying kung-fu, and suddenly no one wants to talk to you… be it the girls at the party or your wife.
Do you remember the socio-religious uproar when BYU’s wrestling coach and LDS/ Mormon member, Mark Schultz, fought in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships)? Calls for his dismissal were all over. Calls for his excommunication came in, too. As with Professor Jones and 911, threatenings of withdrawals of donations also came in. Here’s how one writer put it (from http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/3/Mark-Schultz-Where-Is-He-Now-15062):
“Following his one-sided thrashing of Goodridge in his MMA debut, Schultz promptly disappeared from the scene to keep his coaching job at BYU. His exit was one of the great mysteries of the sport, which was just getting its foothold in the states, along with the big money that would come a few years later.
“The president of the school at the time was already anti-wrestling, and on the front cover of the Salt Lake Tribune, there was a picture of me on top of Gary Goodridge with him all bloody,” [Schultz] said.”

And also this (from http://www.njpw.com/interviews/schultz.shtml):
“That’s because in 1996 after the UFC 9, there was a lot of publicity about it in Utah. They put my picture on many tabloid covers, but at the same time, I was the head coach of BYU, and there were many people who disagreed with my action in competing in the NHB match. This type of event was new at the time and back then, and there were not many rules. There were only two or three rules and people thought it was brutal, and a lot of people were upset and complaining to the president of BYU. So the president said to me, “You can either coach amateur wrestling at BYU or fight, but you can’t do both.” I had three kids and had to decide on taking the coaching career because I needed the health insurance and stuff.” (Sidenote: BYU stopped its wrestling program about four years after, leaving Schultz without a job.)

As that makes it clearly known and seen, many Mormons—especially Utah Mormons, it seems—don’t like the idea, plain and simple. I mean, a true disciple of Christ, a staff member at the Lord’s university, would never do that! Unless, perhaps, you’re taking some form of “spiritual karate” lessons or “we don’t even hurt bugs” martial art.

On the other hand, those nonviolent sports—such as BYU football and church basketball (especially with the clawed women) or church fast-pitch softball–are so much more Christ-like and becoming a Saint…

Sure, there’s no reason to be pro-violence; but unless you’re on the stature of an Anti-Nephi-Lehi, is there a reason to support others being “pro-violence”, in that you let others violate you, your family, and others?

8. Some men just aren’t very good at defense; it’s not their cup of postum.
I understand. (Believe me, I understand!) Maybe if we physically contended with a 6th grader, we would lose. We think it wouldn’t be worth putting in all the time and effort into something that’s just not for us. I mean, why spend hours and hours when all it would mean is we’d get knocked out in five seconds instead of three?
Once more–and especially here–defense doesn’t just mean violence.
Besides, with preparation, and the Lord’s help, who knows what might happen? Here’s a story to illustrate:
There was a troop at Scout camp that was bigger and more numerous than us, bad, and they didn’t like us (they were the only other LDS troop there, go figure). Contention was growing, I was trying really hard to be good, and we went swimming. I was doing the freestyle with eyes closed (hey, it was in the lake!), when I felt a very slight bump. Weird–I had checked my path, it had been clear. I got to the pier I was swimming to, got out and sat, and quickly noticed a commotion on the other pier I had just swum from. One guy had a very bad bloody nose! Then I noticed someone pointing at puny old me (I was a skinny 90 lbs. in 9th grade). A-ha! Now I knew what that bump was… Well, we had no more problems with that troop afterward.

What to do?

So, here are my suggestions:
1. Know thyself, and then don’t.
Check out all these different ways. Decide which ones fit you best, and prepare. But who knows, maybe you actually have talents you and no one else know about, and would have never guessed.

2. You need a plan plans.
There are lots of different situations to prepare for: personal vs. couple vs. family vs. group, inside vs. outside vs. car, isolated vs. in a crowd, troublesome vs. life-threatening, etc.

3. You need to practice the plan.

4. Let the words of prophets (particularly the living), the scriptures, and especially the guidance of the Holy Ghost lead you. I share one account about this, and its importance:
I dreamed I was with a huge dude. He was big, bad, late 20’s/early 30’s, bald head, muscular. The situation was bad. He said to follow him, I thought yeah, no one could take him, it would be good. I had another feeling—like from the Holy Ghost—not to. We started walking, a group came but I still didn’t worry—until one guy pulled out a gun. Whoops. No amount of muscles beat that…
I’m glad it was just a dream.

Another example, from church history:
A mob was crossing the river to attack the Saints; the local Mormons were ready to ambush what would have been easy targets wading in deep water in a restricted area; a messenger just arrived from Joseph Smith saying the prophet says to submit, not fight; the local leader prayed, felt the Holy Ghost say to follow the prophet; they submitted instead of fought, were captured but were later released; even though as they were leaving in a straight line (like old English battlefield shooting) they were fired at twice at close range by the whole mob, not one Saint was shot or even hit.

Here are some other ways for success:
*get your family involved. This might also help everyone’s self-confidence. Let everyone explore their own skills and talents.
*think of a list, in order of preference, you could use and areas to work on.

Ok, I keep saying defense and protection is more than just physical confrontation and violence. Here are some things to consider:

Let them know you’re watching.
Sometimes, just one other person being around, or watching, is enough to deter problems before they start. Especially if you’re holding a videocamera, or a cellphone, or both.

Talk.
Maybe a reminder–hey, I’m here watching.
Maybe just a short plea. You can talk of God, of family, police problems, jail, etc.
Maybe a talking to. It doesn’t have to be a threat—it might even be the opposite. An invitation could work where a threat might make it worse.
Getting other people’s attention and help.
Calling for help.

Do.
This doesn’t necessarily mean violence. It could be: trying to calm the situation, pulling people apart, seeing if someone’s ok, especially if it was “on the spot” violence.

Get involved.
Depending on the threat, it can be “standing by” someone, physically fighting, or even using a weapon. Realize there are many more crimes deferred by a weapon than crimes committed with a weapon, and many situations are helped by weapons.

Take a look in the Book of Mormon at what the Nephites did in particular. Weapons, armor, strong defenses and forts, stratagems galore, praying for help and having faith, and yes fighting—all providing safety to the Nephites, protecting them from the Lamanites, and especially discouraging the enemy.

I hope this has helped in some way to remind and encourage LDS men to become a little more like many of the great men in the Book of Mormon who abhorred violence yet were ready and wiling to defend and protect to death.


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2009, May 20

“The Widow’s Mite and Judging” by grego

Filed under: Bible — grego @ 1:42 am
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The Widow’s Mite and Judging
by grego
(c) 2009

I was reminded of a few verses in the Bible a few Sundays ago:

Mark 12:
41 ¶ And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Luke 21:
1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

Matthew 7:
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

See, someone wanted a temple recommend. I didn’t even know who they were, they came so seldom, and figured there would be no way they would be able to get one. But I also figured, if someone wants an interview, I’ll oblige, and we’ll figure out what to do.

In the course of our interview, I learned that this person’s parents didn’t know of their Church membership; the parents had been against their joining, and was the reason for such low attendance.

Why did this person desire to go to the temple? This person had done genealogy, and had sent in over 100 ancestors’ names to the temple.

Of course much genealogy has been done in many “old”/ “multi-generational LDS families… but if you were to ask the typical LDS member how much genealogy they had done, I imagine most wouldn’t even come close to have spent the time necessary to process 100 names.

Though she might have “failed” in the eyes of many, I’m sure the Lord has been quite pleased with her efforts.

It was a touching experience.


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2009, May 19

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 6 of 6” by grego

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 6 of 6”
by grego
(c) 2005-2009

Ether 12:27–“Weakness” or “WeaknessES”?

PART 6

Part 1

Part 5

It is not only possible, or probable, but certain, that a prophet of God is a man not only capable of human mistakes and frailties, but that he commits them. There is no need for anyone to ask, for example, “How could Joseph Smith, an imperfect man, have been a prophet?!?”

I believe one of the biggest stumbling blocks the Gentiles have is the belief that a prophet must be perfect. It is not true, and very importantly, it has *never* been true. There has only been and there will only be one perfect person, and that was Jesus Christ. All others are perfected through Him, through his grace and their faith, repentance, and obedience.

Prophets are holy men, but they are not perfect; however godly they might be, they are still mortal, and being mortal, they are subject to all mortality. Unless they have been given very special powers from God to overcome the mortal sphere while still in it—such as the Three Nephites—they will always be subject to what everyone else is subject to.

The Book of Mormon prophet-king Benjamin sums it up quite well:
Mosiah 2:9 And these are the words which he spake and caused to be written, saying: My brethren, all ye that have assembled yourselves together, YOU THAT CAN HEAR MY WORDS WHICH I SHALL SPEAK UNTO YOU THIS DAY; for I have not commanded you to come up hither to trifle with the words which I shall speak, but that you should HEARKEN UNTO ME, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds THAT THE MYSTERIES OF GOD MAY BE UNFOLDED TO YOUR VIEW.
Mosiah 2:10 I have NOT COMMANDED YOU to come up hither that ye should fear me, or THAT YE SHOULD THINK THAT I OF MYSELF AM MORE THAN A MORTAL MAN.
Mosiah 2:11 But I AM LIKE AS YOURSELVED, SUBJECT TO ALL MANNER OF INFIRMITIES IN BODY AND MIND; yet I have been chosen by this people, and consecrated by my father, and was SUFFERED BY THE HAND OF THE LORD that I should be a ruler and a king over this people; and have been KEPT AND PRESERVED BY HIS MATCHLESS POWER, to serve you with all the might, mind and strength which the Lord hath granted unto me.
Mosiah 2:26 And I, EVEN I, whom YE CALL YOUR KING, AM NO BETTER THAN YE YOURSELVES ARE; for I am also of the dust. And ye behold that I am old, and am about to yield up this mortal frame to its mother earth.
Mosiah 2:27 Therefore, as I said unto you that I had served you, walking with a CLEAR CONSCIENCE BEFORE GOD, even so I at this time have caused that ye should assemble yourselves together, that I MIGHT BE FOUND BLAMELESS, and that your blood should not come upon me, when I SHALL STAND TO BE JUDGED OF GOD OF THE THINGS WHEREOF HE HATH COMMANDED ME CONCERNING YOU.
Mosiah 2:30 For even at this time, my whole frame doth tremble exceedingly while attempting to speak unto you; but the LORD GOD DOTH SUPPORT ME, and hath SUFFERED ME THAT I SHOULD SPEAK UNTO YOU, and hath commanded me that I should declare unto you this day, that my son Mosiah is a king and a ruler over you.

LDS need to leave behind the current typical interpretation of Ether 12:27 and use the one the writers had in mind, which places emphasis on our weakness of being mortals and the need of the atonement of Jesus Christ. We will be reminded that the weak things (mortals) will be made strong (first men and women of God, and then gods).

THE END


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Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 5 of 6” by grego

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 5 of 6”
by grego
(c) 2005-2009

Ether 12:27–“Weakness” or “WeaknessES”?

PART 5

Start at Part 1

Part 4

The Book of Mormon is not the only book to speak like this. The Doctrine and Covenants is also full of this language, and similar meaning instead of the typical Ether 12:27 interpretation:

Doctrine and Covenants 1:24: Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given to my servants in THEIR WEAKNESS, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.

Doctrine and Covenants 35:17 And I have sent fort the fulness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Jospeh; and in WEAKNESS have I blessed him…
Doctrine and Covenants 35:19 wherefore, WATCH OVER HIM THAT HIS FAITH FAIL NOT…

Doctrine and Covenants 38:13 And now I show unto you a mystery, a thing which is had in secret chambers, to bring to pass even your destruction in process of time, and ye knew it not;
Doctrine and Covenants 38:14 But now I tell it unto you, and ye are blessed, NOT BECAUSE OF YOUR INIQUITY, NEITHER YOUR HEARTS OF UNBELIEF; for verily SOME OF YOU ARE GUILTY BEFORE ME, but I will be merciful unto your WEAKNESS.
Doctrine and Covenants 38:15 Therefore, be ye STRONG from henceforth; fear not, for the kingdom is yours.

Doctrine and Covenants 50:16 (40, 41 fear not, little children) Behold ye shall answer this question yourselves: nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is WEAK among you hereafter shall be made STRONG.

Doctrine and Covenants 62:1 Behold, and hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, your advocate, who knoweth the WEAKNESS of MAN, and HOW TO SUCCOR THEM WHO ARE TEMPTED.

Doctrine and Covenants 84:106 And if any man among you be STRONG in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is WEAK, that he may be EDIFIED IN ALL MEEKNESS, that he may become STRONG also.

Perhaps the best fit from the Bible is this passage:
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR THEE: FOR MY STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN AM I STRONG.” (2 Cor. 12:7-10)

Part 6


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Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 4 of 6” by grego

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 4 of 6”
by grego
(c) 2005-2009

Ether 12:27–“Weakness” or “WeaknessES”?

PART 4

Start at Part 1

Part 3

Here is another place that shows that great faith help the weak ones to overcome their weakness, not weaknesses, and be made strong in the Lord:
“Behold, now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked round about again on the multitude, and he said unto them: Behold, my time is at hand” (3 Nephi 17:1).
“I perceive that YE ARE WEAK, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time” (3 Nephi 17:2).
“Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again” (3 Nephi 17:3).

And yet, these people received truly unspeakable blessings a few moments later, and Jesus says this about their faith:
3 Nephi 17:8 For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that YOUR FAITH IS SUFFICIENT that I should heal you.
3 Nephi 17:20 And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: BLESSED ARE YE BECAUSE OF YOUR FAITH. And now behold, my joy is full.

Nephi writes of his shortcomings and his need for God:
2 Nephi 4:16 Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.
2 Nephi 4:17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
2 Nephi 4:18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
2 Nephi 4:19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
2 Nephi 4:20 My God hath been my support…

Nephi comments on his own writing:
“AND now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men” (2 Nephi 33:1) …
“But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry” (2 Nephi 33:3)
“And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in WEAKNESS will be made STRONG unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal” (2 Nephi 33:4)

Reminders by Mormon and Moroni (note that these all came before Ether 12):
Title Page: And now, IF THERE ARE FAULTS THEY ARE THE MISTAKES OF MEN; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.
Mormon 8:17 And IF THERE BE FAULTS THEY BE THE FAULTS OF A MAN. But behold, we know no fault; nevertheless God knoweth all things; therefore, he that condemneth, let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire.
Mormon 8:12 And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of THE IMPERFECTIONS WHICH ARE IN IT, the same shall know of greater things than these. Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I WOULD MAKE ALL THINGS KNOWN UNTO YOU.
Mormon 9:31 CONDEMN ME NOT BECAUSE OF MINE IMPERFECTION (not “imperfectionS”), neither MY FATHER, BECAUSE OF HIS IMPERFECTION (not “imperfectionS”), neither THEM WHO HAVE WRITTEN BEFORE HIM; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.

And then this: Ether 12:40 “And only a few have I written, because of my WEAKNESS in writing”.

Yet Moroni understands, through seeking and finding Jesus, we receive grace:
Ether 12:41 “And now, I would commend you to SEEK THIS JESUS of whom the prophets and apostles have written, THAT THE GRACE OF GOD the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, MAY BE AND ABIDE IN YOU FOREVER. Amen”.

The story of Nephi the third great prophet is interesting. He has such great faith that he constantly works miracles:
3 Nephi 7:18 And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for SO GREAT WAS HIS FAITH ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST THAT ANGELS DID MINISTER UNTO HIM DAILY… and HE DID ALSO DO MANY MORE MIRACLES, in the sight of the people, IN THE NAME OF JESUS (author’s note: not of himself, a mortal man, but by and through God and His power!).

And more about him here:
3 Nephi 8:1 AND now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record–for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity–

and yet, in just the next verse, we read:
3 Nephi 8:2 And now it came to pass, if there was no mistake made by this man in the reckoning of our time, the thirty and third year had passed away;

In other words, though Nephi “was a just man”, “cleansed every whit from his iniquity”—through the atonement of Jesus Christ, that is—and had performed “many miracles” (note the so-very-important “in the name of Jesus” here!), Nephi might have made a simple human mistake in keeping track of the time! (Gives ADDer’s great hope, huh?)

When Jesus comes, the first matter of business is to chastize the people for having disputations and contentions regarding the ordinance of baptism and other doctrines–something that Nephi, as prophet, should have been taking care of:
3 Nephi 11:22 And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you…
3 Nephi 11:27 And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.
3 Nephi 11:28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
3 Nephi 11:29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
3 Nephi 11:30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.

Later, Jesus checks the records, and finds that Nephi didn’t record the fulfillment of an important prophecy—it seems he had forgotten:
3 Nephi 23:8 And when Nephi had brought forth the records, and laid them before him, he cast his eyes upon them and said:
3 Nephi 23:9 Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so?
3 Nephi 23:10 And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled.
3 Nephi 23:11 And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them?
3 Nephi 23:12And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written.

Part 5


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Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 3 of 6” by grego

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 3 of 6”
by grego
(c) 2005-2009

Ether 12:27–“Weakness” or “WeaknessES”?

PART 3

Start at Part 1

Part 2

While all people have many different weaknesses, we all have the same one weakness: we are mortal, and subject to all the essence of mortality; we come short of perfection, we have sinned, we are capable of and will sin, we lack something of light, something of truth, something of God, we have not yet fully overcome.

The story of the brother of Jared seeing Jesus fits in well here:
Ether 3:1 “And it came to pass that the brother of Jared… cried again unto the Lord, saying:”
Ether 3:2 “O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his WEAKNESS BEFORE THEE; for we know that THOU ART HOLY AND DWELLEST IN THE HEAVENS, and that WE ARE UNWORTHY BEFORE THEE; BECAUSE OF THE FALL OUR NATURES HAVE BECOME EVIL CONTINUALLY; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires”.
Ether 3:3 “Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us BECAUSE OF OUR INIQUITY, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, THOU HAST BEEN MERCIFUL UNTO US. O Lord, look upon me in PITY, and TURN AWAY THINE ANGER FROM THIS THY PEOPLE, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; but behold these things which I have molten out of the rock”.
Ether 3:4 “And I know, O LORD, THAT THOU HAST ALL POWER, AND CAN DO WHATSOEVER THOU WILT FOR THE BENEFIT OF MAN; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea”.
Ether 3:5 Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that THOU ART ABLE to show forth GREAT POWER, which LOOKS SMALL unto the UNDERSTANDING OF MEN.
Ether 3:6 And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear…
Ether 3:9 And the Lord said unto him: BECAUSE OF THEY FAITH thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and NEVER HAS MAN COME BEFORE ME WITH SUCH EXCEEDING FAITH AS THOU HAST; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?
Ether 3:10 And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.
Ether 3:11 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?
Ether 3:12 And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.
Ether 3:13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things YE ARE REDEEMED FROM THE FALL; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.

Wow! The brother of Jared admits the difference between God and man (including himself, especially after Ether 2:14, where the Lord chastened the brother of Jared for three hours for not “calling upon the name of the Lord”. )—weakness—says that God’s things seem “small” to man, yet He has power to do all things; and then sees God because of his great exceeding faith, and is redeemed from the state of weakness, or the Fall!

There are other places in the Book of Mormon, and other scriptures, that speak like this, too. Jacob writes:
“Behold, they believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name, and also we worship the Father in his name…” (Jacob 4:5)
“Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and OUR FAITH BECOMETH UNSHAKEN, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea” (Jacob 4:6).
“Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us OUR WEAKNESS that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things” (Jacob 4:7)

So, his and their faith is unshaken—not even an inkling of wavering here. They can command nature, as can God, which made the apostles in Jerusalem marvel. Yet, the early Nephites still have a weakness—seemingly a group weakness, here. This use doesn’t seem to fit in with the standard explanation of Ether 12:27, either. Jacob doesn’t say what the weakness is, but from looking at what he said previously, and his explanation afterwards, he seems to be saying that by seeing their weakness (whatever it is), they learn that God’s grace and condescensions give them the power, by their faith, to act as Jesus. Faith is not lacking, nor is the lack of faith their weakness; yet, the weakness remains. Once more, I believe that the interpretation that while man may want to be like God, and attempt to be like God, and sometimes might even be like God in some ways, he is still man, not God.

Right after this, Jacob seems to strengthen this by saying:
“Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God” (Jacob 4:8).

Is Jacob telling us something more about “weakness?” Is there something between the relationship of “weakness” and not being able to understand God and His purposes, even to the point of despising His communications with man?

There are other places. Joseph of Egypt prophesied:
2 Nephi 3:8 And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.
2 Nephi 3:9 And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.
2 Nephi 3:10 And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.
2 Nephi 3:11 But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins–and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.
2 Nephi 3:13 And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.
2 Nephi 3:14 And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded…
2 Nephi 3:15 …And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.
2 Nephi 3:17 And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much, for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him…
“And the words which he shall write shall be the words which are expedient in my wisdom should go forth unto the fruit of thy loins. And it shall be as if the fruit of thy loins had cried unto them from the dust; FOR I KNOW THEIR FAITH” (2 Nephi 3:19)
“And they shall cry from the dust; yea, even repentance unto their brethren, even after many generations have gone by them. And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the SIMPLENESS of their words” (2 Nephi 3:20)
“Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and THE WEAKNESS OF THEIR WORDS WILL I MAKE STRONG IN THEIR FAITH, UNTO THE REMEMBERING OF MY COVENANT WHICH I MADE UNTO THY FATHERS” (2 Nephi 3:21).

Continue to Part 4


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2009, May 18

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 2 of 6” by grego

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 2 of 6”
by grego
(c) 2005-2009

Ether 12:27–“Weakness” or “WeaknessES”?

PART 2

Part 1

The second interpretation is about “weakness” vs. “weaknesses”. Right before this section, Moroni talks about faith and hope, and how miracles and promises from the Lord are obtained through faith. He makes a list of some of the miracles, mostly from the Book of Mormon, that happened to men because of their faith (Ether 12).

It is interesting to note that Moroni himself has obtained, through his faith, almost all the things that he mentions in the lives of these other people: he has an anchor for his soul, he is sure and steadfast, he abounds in good works, and glorifies God; he has been delivered from his enemies; he has seen Christ, after He had risen from the dead; he partakes of the gift; he was called after the holy order of God; he knows of the law of Moses, and the fulfillment of the law by Christ; he has seen miracles; he has seen the three disciples; and whether he saw what the brother of Jared saw, or not, at least by writing the things that the brother of Jared saw, he knows them, too. This is what he writes:
“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God” (Ether 12:4).

“Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith” (Ether 12:9).

“For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith” (Ether 12:12).

“And it is by faith that my fathers have obtained the promise that these things should come unto their brethren through the Gentiles; therefore the Lord hath commanded me, yea, even Jesus Christ” (Ether 12:22).

It is at this point that Moroni writes this:
“And I said unto him: Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of OUR WEAKNESS in writing; for Lord thou hast made us *mighty in word* *by faith*, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing; for thou hast made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou hast given them;” (Ether 12:23)
“And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them” (Ether 12:24).
“Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold OUR WEAKNESS, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words” (Ether 12:25).

It seems that Moroni does not feel that he or the other Nephites are/ were up to the call of fulfilling the Lord’s promises made to his fathers, and his reading the Jaredite plates just makes him feel this failing further. Then comes this:
“And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of YOUR WEAKNESS;” (Ether 12:26).

And then, the main scripture:
“And if MEN come unto me I will show unto them THEIR WEAKNESS. I give unto MEN WEAKNESS that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for ALL MEN that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).

The Lord continues:
“Behold, I will show unto the gentiles their WEAKNESS, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me–the fountain of all righteousness” (Ether 12:28).

Here, in three verses, the Lord says that three groups each have a “weakness”: Moroni and the other writers of the Book of Mormon; all men; and the Gentiles. The Lord does not say, “weaknesses.”

Is there a difference? If we were to hold to the typical LDS interpretation of Ether 12:27, in light of Moroni’s great faith, we would assume that the Lord would make his writing much better, to perhaps even surpass his speech. But the Lord does not say, “Your writing will improve so much, it will become a strength to you, and you will be able to write even greater than the brother of Jared.” He says, “…because thou hast seen THY WEAKNESS thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.”

What does Moroni’s seeing his weakness in writing have to do with his gaining eternal life? If one interprets the verse in the usual way—nothing. In fact, after this dialogue with the Lord, Moroni still writes: “And only a few have I written, because of my WEAKNESS in writing” (Ether 12:40). Do we assume that his faith wasn’t strong enough to overcome his weakness? But we have already seen that Moroni’s faith was great enough to attain almost every miracle that any other person has ever attained. So, was Moroni’s faith weak only in this one thing—which meant that his weakness was to remain, yet he would have eternal life because of it?; or do these scriptures mean something else instead?

If we keep reading, we see that Moroni actually draws faith from these words, then draws further faith from the record he has just read:
“And I, Moroni, having heard these words, was comforted, and said: O Lord, thy righteous will be done, for I know that thou workest unto the children of men according to their faith;” (Ether 12:29)
“And again, I remember that thou hast said that thou hast loved the world, even unto the laying down of thy life for the world, that thou mightest take it again to prepare a place for the children of men” (Ether 12:33).
“And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father” (Ether 12:34).
“Wherefore, I know by this thing which thou hast said, that if the Gentiles have not charity, because of OUR WEAKNESS, that thou wilt prove them, and take away their talent, yea, even that which they have received, and give unto them who shall have more abundantly” (Ether 12:35).

Some people see the Lord having died on the cross as a weakness, especially in light of “survival of the fittest.” In fact, the main theme of one modern and fast-growing church (by both number of members and influence) is just that: because Jesus Christ died, He failed to fulfill his mission. Yet, we know and understand that Jesus’ death was according to the fulfillment of God’s plan. It is not the Lord, then, who is judged by God as weak; but we humans are judged by how we look at and understand his death. Some Jews believed in Jesus’ death as the last and ultimate weakness and sign that he was not the Messiah (Matthew 27:39-43).

In fact, by dying, Jesus Christ (among other things) testified to and proved his charity, which then led to His being able to inherit His Father’s kingdom and allowing all men the opportunity to do so also. Moroni then directly relates this to his and the other Nephites writing the Book of Mormon and the way that the Gentiles would judge their words:
“And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity” (Ether 12:36).
“And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because THOU HAST SEEN THY WEAKNESS thou shalt be MADE STRONG, even unto the SITTING DOWN IN THE PLACE WHICH I HAVE PREPARED IN THE MANSIONS OF MY FATHER” (Ether 12:37).

Here we see that being made strong does not mean to overcome a mortal weakness while still in the flesh, such as a weakness in writing, but to be able to return to the presence of God. So moving backwards, what does “weakness” mean, and is it the same for all three groups previously mentioned?

(Folks, this is Part 2 of a 6-part series! :) )

Part 3


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Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 1 of 6” by grego

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 1 of 6”
by grego
(c) 2005-2009

Ether 12:27–“Weakness” or “WeaknessES”?

PART 1

Ether 12:27 reads:

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their WEAKNESS. I give unto men WEAKNESS that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make WEAK THINGS become strong unto them” (caps added).

In every explanation of Ether 12:27 I have ever read or heard in any LDS Church class, “weakness,” which occurs twice in the singular, is interpreted and used as if it were in the plural, “weaknesses.” This interpretation is then justified because of the “then will I make weak THINGS become strong unto them” part of the verse, and because of the references to faith in previous verses in the chapter.

So, this verse is then interpreted like this: “weaknesses” are things that make us have to rely on the Lord to overcome, especially our shortcomings and sins; and that by relying on the Lord, He will help us overcome them, and in fact, these weaknesses will become our strengths.

For example, if I am out of shape, and I try but can’t be otherwise, if I rely more on the Lord, he will help me get in shape, so much so that I might be in the best shape ever, and better than others. I have overcome my problem, and now it is one of the least of my problems; in fact, it has become my strength. I just needed more faith in the Lord, and it finally happened.

While this explanation sounds nice, and *is* true some of the time, I believe that by changing “weakness” to “weaknesses,” we wrest an incorrect meaning—a meaning that was not the original intention of the verse—and in addition, this misinterpretation forms the basis of incorrect interpretation of other scriptures, and brings further problems.

Perhaps this typical interpretation lends to why some Saints believe that admitting a mistake is the same as repentance–isn’t their sin because of a weakness, and didn’t the Lord forgive Moroni for his weakness, when Moroni acknowledged his weakness and felt sorrow for it? For others, the result of incorrect interpretation might be despair—“Why doesn’t the Lord cure me?” “Why can’t I overcome this weakness?” etc. This “thorn in [the] flesh” (Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10) becomes a thorn in the side of their faith. “And Moroni says that despair cometh from iniquity, so the reason I’m not overcoming this problem is because… I’m evil.” So they keep working harder and harder to repent of… what? Having a weakness? An imperfection?? Which is what the Lord said they had anyway, right?

So what is the correct interpretation of Ether 12:27? I believe there are two levels higher than the usual interpretation. The best is that the person the Lord is speaking about is not Moroni, but those who read his writing. We are confused because the Lord speaks to Moroni about Moroni’s weakness in the preceding verse: “And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of YOUR WEAKNESS;” (Ether 12:26). So, we assume that the Lord continues speaking to him about this weakness in the next verse:
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” However, the Lord is not speaking about Moroni and his weakness, but about those who read Moroni’s words. The weakness in verse 27 is a different kind of weakness than that of verse 26.

This means, then, that “weak things” in verse 27 are the writings of Moroni.

Continue to Part 2


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2009, May 14

Book of Mormon | A Fallen Angel Becomes the Devil: Lehi’s Supposition, Jacob’s Doctrine

Book of Mormon | A Fallen Angel Becomes the Devil: Lehi’s Supposition, Jacob’s Doctrine
by grego
(c) 2009

We have an instance in the Book of Mormon of one prophet’s assumption becoming another prophet’s doctrine. This point is about an angel falling from heaven and becoming the devil.

Here it is, from Lehi:
2 Nephi 2:17 And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.
2 Nephi 2:18 And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.

From Jacob:
2 Nephi 9:8 O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.
2 Nephi 9:9 And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.


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Book of Mormon | “Is He Worth It?” by grego

Book of Mormon | Is He Worth It?
by grego
(c) 2009

I have an adult friend who has been LDS for years—though you wouldn’t know it.

He believes some really weird things that are clearly not doctrine.

And I believe it’s no one’s fault but his own that he does. I have very little hope for his exaltation right now. Or the celestial kingdom. Or the terrestial kingdom, maybe.

He sings weird, he loves to gossip, he shares bad advice sometimes, and many people who meet him believe he is gay. (If not that, it’s definitely something else.)

Someone asked me, not necessarily accusingly: “Why does this person even bother to attend? Not only does it seem to not do any good for him, but he just makes it worse for others. Does it do any good? Why are you his friend if you know that?”

Is it good for the LDS Church? I imagined, who knows—maybe, maybe not. Likewise for him and his life. (If I had to guess, though, I would guess yes for both.)

But…

Then I shared that this person was ready to turn in names/ genealogy for temple work. I’m not sure how many, but I think it’s *hundreds*.

That’s hundreds of people who will soon have the opportunity to join the church of Jesus Christ and receive ordinances and blessings of the gospel.

All because of this person, who is also the only member in his broken family.

I am reminded of a few verses in the Book of Mormon:
3 Nephi 18:22 And behold, *ye shall meet together oft*; and *ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not*;
3 Nephi 18:23 But *ye shall pray for them, and shall not cast them out; and if it so be that they come unto you oft ye shall pray for them unto the Father, in my name*.

3 Nephi 18:29 For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him.
3 Nephi 18:30 Nevertheless, *ye shall not cast him out from among you, but ye shall minister unto him and shall pray for him unto the Father, in my name; and if it so be that he repenteth and is baptized in my name, then shall ye receive him, and shall minister unto him of my flesh and blood*.
3 Nephi 18:31 But if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people, for behold I know my sheep, and they are numbered.

Jesus suggests that we pray more often for others.

2009, May 13

Book of Mormon | “Pray for Your Enemies” by grego

Today I was unhappy with a guy (I had left my door partly open, the porch light on, and a “no parking” sign out, and he had still parked his car in front of my house for a while, blocking my driveway, and didn’t leave a phone number on his car). I believe I was a little too strong explaining that I wasn’t happy; it wasn’t that bad, but still, afterward I felt bad. I felt so bad, I prayed for him for a while. I had a few thoughts about praying for your enemies.

Pray for your enemies.
Who knows, if you pray for your enemy, if maybe your enemy will change from a horrible person to a wonderful person;
Who knows, if you pray for your enemy, if maybe they won’t change, but you will realize your enemy is a wonderful person instead of a horrible person;
Who knows, if you pray for your enemy, if maybe they will be happier, and maybe even help others be happier, too;
Who knows, if you pray for your enemy, if maybe they will repent of their sins, and know Jesus, because of your prayers;
Who knows, if you pray for your enemy, if maybe you will be forgiven of your sins and mistakes, too;
Who knows, if you pray for your enemy, if maybe you will save your life;
Who knows, if you pray for your enemy, if maybe they will pray for you;
Who knows, if you pray for your enemy, if maybe they will bless others;
Who knows, if you pray for your enemy, if maybe they will pray for their enemies;
Who knows, if you pray for your enemy, if maybe they will one day make up for what they did to you, much more than you would imagine;
Who knows, if you pray for your enemy, if maybe one day instead of wanting to avoid them, or yell at them, or hit them, you will want to run to them, hug them and shed tears, and love them;
Who knows, if you pray for your enemy, if maybe one day they will save you and/ or someone you love very much;
I *do* know, if you pray for your enemies, you will be blessed; for “pray for your enemies” is a commandment clearly given to us; and when we obey any commandment of God, we receive a blessing from God.

3 Nephi 12:43 And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy;
3 Nephi 12:44 But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;

Did not Jesus pray for his enemies? And who are his enemies? Isn’t an enemy someone who hurts us? Someone who makes us suffer? So, how much did Jesus suffer because of what *you* thought, said, and did?
3 Nephi 17:17 And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.

If we don’t pray for our enemies, how can we take the sacrament with clean hands and a pure heart?

Remember that we would all be enemies to God without Jesus Christ.

Remember, as Alma teaches in Alma 38:14:
Alma 38:14 Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy–yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times.


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2009, May 5

Book of Mormon | “A Rebutting Critique of the Ox Argument for Others in the Land Theory in 1 Nephi 18:25” by grego

Book of Mormon | “A Rebutting Critique of the Ox Argument for Others in the Land Theory in 1 Nephi 18:25”

by grego
(c) 2009 in this form

Many proponents of the Book of Mormon “Others in the Land” theory–that there were others not mentioned in the Book of Mormon who interacted with Lehite society (hereafter “Others”)—feel that one of the strongest arguments is the use of the word “ox” in 1 Nephi 18:25:

1 Nephi 18:25 And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, *both the cow and the OX*, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper.

Many believers of Others-in-the-land theory reason that this “ox” is the equivalent of the modern definition of a domesticated American ox—that is, a castrated, trained bull; thus, there must have been people tending them; thus, there must have been Others already there in the land. If that weren’t the case then Joseph Smith—a farmer who well knew the definition of “ox”—would have used the word “bull” instead of “ox”.

Let’s check out this reasoning.

1. This is the only time in the Book of Mormon that the Nephites write about an “ox” to describe an animal in the land.

2. We are placing our time and usage on a word meaning: “presentism” (a favorite sword in matters of Book of Mormon interpretation, but here it’s found that the other side of the sword has a sharp edge, too). Here’s the 1828 definition of “ox” (which can be found at http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/word/ox) :
“OX, n. plu. oxen. pron. ox’n.
The male of the bovine genus of quadrupeds, castrated and grown to his size or nearly so. The young male is called in America a steer. The same animal not castrated is called a bull.”

Pretty clear definition for Joseph Smith to use, right? Wait! Here’s the rest of the definition:
“*These distinctions are well established with us in regard to domestic animals* of this genus. When we speak of *wild animals of this kind*, *ox* is sometimes applied both to the male and female, and in zoology, the same practice exists in regard to the domestic animals. So, *in common usage, a pair of bulls yoked may be sometimes called oxen*. We never apply the name ox to the cow or female of the domestic kind. Oxen in the plural may comprehend both the male and female.”

So, if the animal were wild (as in Nephi’s “beasts in the forests…, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men”), then “ox” would be a proper substitute for “bull”, even if “cow” is used in the text for the female. Why would the Nephites write that there are “cows” and “castrated, domesticated bulls” running around? How come there are no “bulls” with them? (Or did Nephi forget to mention/ write that, also?)

3. Why do so many “ox-means-Others” proponents quickly point out (and properly so, as research shows) that “horse” might not really be *our* definition of horse, but perhaps *their* definition of “horse”, or in other words, another animal (especially because of naming animals in a new land, and passing through double translation from original author to Mormon to Joseph Smith). Must one mention of “ox” following “cow” really mean what one wants it to mean, just because it supports one’s theory of Others already in the land?

4. “Ox” might also mean a bovine other than our domesticated American type.
From http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ox :
“1. An adult castrated bull of the genus Bos, especially B. taurus, used chiefly as a draft animal.
2. *A bovine mammal*.”
From http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/436367/ox : “OX Bos taurus: (Bos taurus, or B. taurus primigenius), a domesticated form of the large horned mammals that once moved in herds across North America and Europe (whence they have disappeared) and Asia and Africa, where some still exist in the wild state. South America and Australia have no wild oxen. Oxen are members of the Bovidae family.”

5. Why would domesticated, castrated bulls—“beasts”—be discovered by the Lehites in the forests? Is that where domesticated animals roam? (On the other hand, however, note that Nephi mentions “goats” and “wild goats” in the same verse, and “wild animals” comes later, after the mention of what seem to be, or at least definitely could be, domesticated animals.)

6. If the oxen found in the forests were the domesticated type, couldn’t there be a possibility that the oxen were remnants of another civilization? For example, from the Jaredites?:
Ether 9:18 And also all manner of cattle, of oxen, and cows, and of sheep, and of swine, and of goats, and also many other kinds of animals which were useful for the food of man.

Anyone who has doubts that cattle can subsist in the wild, just needs to watch a rodeo or meet a bull face-to-face… Or, do an internet search for “wild cattle” and similar terms, which will turn up many references. Here are just a few examples:
—A picture of wild cattle grazing in Nicaragua: http://www.traveljournals.net/pictures/27910.html
—From: www.archive.org/stream/wildlifeininteri00byam/wildlifeininteri00byam_djvu.txt :
“The wild horned cattle of Central America are by far the wildest of any that have come [under] my notice, though not so savage as many that I have seen in the sierras of Spain ; they inhabit the thickest and most inaccessible coverts; they are vigilantly watchful by day and by night, and their great power of smell enables them to scent the approach of danger a long way off, especially from windward.”
www.mcdonaldroad.org/kids/corner/riverbull.html says: “The Swift meatpacking and cattle company owned or leased thousands of acres along this old river. Many of their cattle became wild and lived with the local wildlife for many years. This area ran all the way from lower Lake Kissimmee all the way down to Lake Okeechobee. It was wild and was still a home for the Florida Panther and black bear… The first night we set up camp we were visited by two young bobcats that played like little kittens.”

7. If there were people tending the cow and ox, wouldn’t it be likely one would say “and people tending them”? Yet there is no mention of people at all. (Please, don’t say “there wasn’t space on the plates to write that” and “but that doesn’t have to do with the message of the Book of Mormon”—come up with at least a decent excuse, right?)

8. The words “bull” and “ox” seem to be used interchangeably in the Bible, with “ox” being used more times than not. This includes, it seems, using “ox” to mean “cattle” (both sexes). (You can search “bull” and “ox” in the scriptures at http://www.lds.org.) Curious, would a castrated bull be acceptable as a sacrifice under the law of Moses?
Exodus 34:19 All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.
Leviticus 27:26 ¶ Only the firstling of the beasts, which should be the Lord’s firstling, no man shall sanctify it; whether it be ox, or sheep: it is the Lord’s.
Numbers 7
Deuteronomy 14:4 These are the beasts which ye shall eat: *the ox*, the sheep, and the goat,
5 The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and *the wild ox*, and the chamois.
(Note that here, “ox” and “wild ox” are both mentioned, and so are “goat” and “wild goat”.)

9. References to “bull” instead of “ox” in the Bible—especially in the Old Testament—often have negative connotations. For example, from the “Bible Dictionary: Idol” we read: “*Idolatry* generally meant nature worship in one form or another; e.g., in Egypt the chief objects of worship were the sun and other heavenly bodies, the Nile, and sacred animals, *especially the bull*.” Also, “Guide to the Scriptures: Baal” says, “The *usual symbol for Baal was a bull*. Ashtoreth was the goddess generally worshiped along with Baal.”

Nephi later writes the following:
2 Nephi 25:1 NOW I, Nephi, do speak somewhat concerning the words which I have written, which have been spoken by the mouth of Isaiah. For behold, Isaiah spake many things which were hard for many of my people to understand; for they know not concerning the manner of prophesying among the Jews.
2 Nephi 25:2 For I, Nephi, *have not taught them many things concerning the manner of the Jews; for their works were works of darkness, and their doings were doings of abominations*.
2 Nephi 25:5 Yea, and my soul delighteth in the words of Isaiah, for I came out from Jerusalem, and mine eyes hath beheld the things of the Jews, and I know that the Jews do understand the things of the prophets, and there is none other people that understand the things which were spoken unto the Jews like unto them, save it be that they are taught after the manner of the things of the Jews.
2 Nephi 25:6 But behold, I, Nephi, *have not taught my children after the manner of the Jews; but behold, I, of myself, have dwelt at Jerusalem, wherefore I know concerning the regions round about*; and I have made mention unto my children concerning the judgments of God, which hath come to pass among the Jews, unto my children, according to all that which Isaiah hath spoken, and I do not write them.

Nephi then writes:
2 Nephi 25:9 And as one generation hath been destroyed among the Jews because of iniquity, even so have they been destroyed from generation to generation according to their iniquities; and never hath any of them been destroyed save it were foretold them by the prophets of the Lord.
2 Nephi 25:10 Wherefore, it hath been told them concerning the destruction which should come upon them, immediately after my father left Jerusalem; nevertheless, they hardened their hearts; and according to my prophecy they have been destroyed, save it be those which are carried away captive into Babylon.

Having recently left about-to-be-destroyed idolatrous Jerusalem, I don’t believe it is a stretch of the imagination to think that Nephi could have preferred to write “ox” instead of “bull” on the plates.

Of course, none of this proves that there weren’t Others in the land when the Nephites got there, or that the “ox” mentioned by Nephi weren’t domesticated.

It just shows that “ox” in 1 Nephi 18:25 clearly doesn’t prove there were others in the land when the Nephites got there, as many Others proponents strive to show.


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2009, May 4

Pandemic Flu Prevention and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ Mormons

Pandemic Flu Prevention and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ Mormons/ LDS Church
by grego
(c)2009

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ Mormons/ or LDS Church’s information on “Pandemic Flu Prevention”, found at: www.providentliving.org/content/display/0,11666,6631-1-3415-1,00.html, is interesting as expected. Here is what is says:

“Pandemic Preparedness Planning is a series of fact sheets that provide information on how individuals, families, and health care workers can prepare for a possible flu pandemic.

Note: The following link is not to official Church publications, but is provided as additional resource material.

Pandemic Flu information for “Individuals and Families planning”. This page is located on the Center for Disease Control Web site.”

There is nothing official from the Church, just links to offsite government documents.

Also interesting is the covering of just about everything, in detail, except for the most necessary information: treatment. I applaud the LDS Church for not linking to information on that, and for leaving that out.

There are many medicines for the flu; you just won’t find much of anything under Western medicine, which is why everyone seems to be so scared.

Does the Book of Mormon have any insight as to where one might place hope, if not in Western medicine’s medicine?

Referring to a previous post:

“Alma 46:40 And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land—but not so much so with fevers, because of the *excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared* to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate—

(P.S. Those plants and roots didn’t necessarily have a brand name on them… Even many good dried herbs can contain poison from the drying/ preserving process, so ask before you buy! You might want to consider asking and buying from a real herbalist that doesn’t use those methods, rather than from a big manufacturing and distributing company.)”

I suggest, if you are really scared/ worried/ want to be prepared, to invest somewhere between $20-80 and get all the medicine you’ll need for a little while. And as a bonus, for a few more dollars, you can buy garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish, vinegar, and cayenne pepper powder.


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Book of Mormon: “*How* Did the Mothers of the Stripling Warriors Know?” by grego

Filed under: Book of Mormon — grego @ 1:57 am
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Book of Mormon: *How* Did the Mothers of the Stripling Warriors Know?
by grego
(c) 2009

Reading about Helaman’s 2,000 stripling warriors:
Alma 56:47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.

Alma 56:48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.

So, how did their mothers know, and why did they fully believe their mothers?


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